It’s normal to fear the unknown, but as more and more Americans choose community living, and assisted living becomes more accepted and understood, that fear is giving way to anticipation.
We’ve created an eBook titled “When Parents Age” to help families decide if assisted living is right for them or their loved one. The 24-page eBook has sections on how to talk with your loved one about assisted living, questions to ask when visiting assisted living facilities and even tips for selling your home, should that be something you decide to do. To download the free eBook, click here.
In the meantime, if your parent seems to be struggling, you might be interested in a great article I found at PsychCentral. Psychotherapist and author Christine Steinorth offers several tips for helping aging parents adjust to this new phase of life.
- Empathize. For all the excitement of watching children grow and develop, the other end of the life cycle is a series of losses—loss of employment, social standing, health, energy, friends, mobility and independence. Sometimes a kind word and an open heart can help a loved one see that even with the losses, there is still much to be grateful for.
- Call regularly. Steinorth’s research indicated that the number one thing parents wanted was to hear from their children. A daily or weekly phone call just to check in can make a tremendous difference.
- Encourage them to be active. This can be a difficult one. For a whole host of reasons parents often become isolated as they age. Perhaps one parent was the social one, and without a partner, the surviving spouse is reluctant to go out. Perhaps driving is an issue. In any case, staying physically active and socially engaged is critical for maintaining a good quality of life.
- Help them downsize without being bossy. Now is the time to help them pare down to essentials that enhance their life.
- Seek out potential problems. Spend time with them in their home with an eye toward figuring out what’s working and what’s not. Are they struggling with meals, medications, housework, home maintenance?
If you and your parent are struggling with “next steps” right now, I hope Steinorth’s suggestions are helpful to you. They are suggestions that could be helpful to all of us, no matter where we live.
I do encourage you to check out the eBook “When Parents Age” and then come visit us at Village Green Retirement Village.